Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Canterbury Province Festival

My thanks go out to all those who helped organise and run the Canterbury Province festival. It was a massive undertaking for our small branch and I believe from the feedback it was as good a festival as any other.
We got a few things wrong after some many months of planning, like we forgot the information in braille for one member, but for the rest we seemed to get it just about right. We had Micheal Golby to thank for much of this. He had done one of these before and using his skills and experience he steered us away from most of the common pitfalls.
The Yellow sashes worn by the branch members made us look distinctive and helped others know who their guides for the day were.
We managed to (after a long time) get our elected chaplain to be admitted as a Branch Chaplain by the Guild Chaplain Rev Canon Maureen Palmer at the event.

My little boy (Paul) all 6ft 3" of him was admitted as a full member of the Guild now he was 18/9 Both my boys seem to stand out in the photos as being rather tall. He is off to university at the moment and exploring Leatherhead in lodgings with some other members of the Guild. Although he won't be around much he might be able to help out another branch for a while.
Karen Cursons, one of our newest members from Leighton Buzzard became a new Full member of the Branch and Guild.

Rosamund Russell, the Branch Secretary, became a full member from previously being an Associate Member.
Together with members of other branches new members of the Guild were admitted at the Lunchtime Eucharist by Rev Canon Maureen Palmer.

We followed the service by a quick walk over to a local restaurant Lussmans.

In the afternoon Guided tours took place for several members, with a special tour for Carol who do a tour on her own, looking at the Cathedral in her own unique way.

The day finished with Choral evensong starting with a procession of Vergers led in by Frank lanes Virge and the Fellows being led in by the Millennium Virge. The Service was led by the boys choir.

The Day finished with the traditional Photograph.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Lengthening a Cassock

Unlike many vergers by two sons are a bit younger than the rest and are still growing. This gives problems to the length of cassocks as they need longer and longer ones. My youngest son is 6ft 3" and rather hefty.  Talking to a friend we managed to find Paul and old second hand cassock. Trying to find the width was bad enough but the length as well seemed impossible.

This cassock was just wide enough but was too short. Fortunately my wife is a good seamstress and had some ideas.

The bottom hem had actually been taken up and letting this down added a inch. We undid the bottom seam and this gave a very frayed edge but gave about another 3 inches.

My wife put bias binding over the edge adding another 1cm and protesting the fraying.
 Pinning on the bias Binding, stitching it then folding it over and stitching it again

Adding about 41/2 inches to the bottom hem
Looking better for length. Now to sort out the sleeves.
I undid the lining from the hem

then we repeated the adding the bias binding.
 The finished edge, not a good as the original but
about 2 1/2inches longer.

Now all we have to do is get rid of some of the holes.

This will require some darning and patching to give the best possible finish.

Now this is finished all that is required is the movement of four buttons to give a slightly better fit and my some will have a "new cassock".

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Last Festival Planning Meeting 12th August

The last of the Festival Planning meetings is on 12th August at my house at 7:30pm  After this the following meetings will be action meetings, training,  licking and sticking etc

The time will soon be upon us and there are still quite a few jobs to plan and organise.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Summer outing 20th August Canal Trip 9-5:30

Glebe Canal Cruises
The boats will accommodate 10/12 persons and all feature a cabin with galley and toilet compartment. In the galley there is a sink with running water, a two-ring gas hob, crockery, cutlery, teapot, saucepan and washing up materials. Forward of the cabin is a covered open air deck which can be enclosed by side screens should the weather turn unpleasant.
These boats are designed to be easy to operate even for the complete novice. They are relatively short in narrow boat terms (approx 30ft) and are simply steered by tiller from the stern. They are powered by quiet modern diesel engines with a forward and reverse gearbox operated by one easy to use lever. We supply all the fuel and gas that you will need and plenty of water for your cruise.
Grebe Canal Cruises Ltd., Pitstone Wharf, Cheddington Road, Pitstone, Buckinghamshire, England. LU7 9AD

Boats are available from 9.30am until 5.30pm
Suggest we gather in car park at boatyard from 9.15 onwards .We shall leave as soon as everyone has come.  To get most out of day please be prompt as possible.

The summer outing Tuesday August 20th 2013    9.15 am to 5.30pm. 
Cost £15.00 per head (Please make cheques payable to St Albans Diocesan Guild of Vergers)
Return to Rosamund Russell, Branch Secretary, 53 Hilldown Road, Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 3JD or via email to  or phone 01442 217754 

We are trying to provide a variety of food catering for up to 24 people but we do not all want to bring the same things. If you want to let me know what you are prepared to bring as well as Tony I can try and make sure we do not have lots of the same thing.

Tea and coffee will be provided anything else you need to bring yourself.

Festival Training Day 2nd Sept 2013

Get ready for the Festival Training Day. Many jobs have to be filled to ensure a successful day out for the Guild.

Many of you volunteered at the Alban Supper, but still more people are required.

We still need a car Shuttle service for about 6-10 people.

The Training Evening has been confirmed at St Saviours Church St Albans, on Monday 2nd Sept at 7:30pm. Here you will be trained and shown how to register the visitors, given the full plan for the day, so you can tell everyone what is happening, and that you can direct people to where they need to be.

We are still very short of the necessary volunteers so we will need to rope in some other people to help us.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Festival is comming

It won't really be long until the festival is upon us.Things are really gearing up now. The Service book is nearly complete. The team leaders have been appointed for the day. The training Day has been organised for the week before, hopefully at St Savours Church.
We have the Lunch menu done and badges and place settings have been organised. There is a preparation day , sorting out the badges organised for the beginning of the week of the Festival.
At the St Alban supper jobs and roles will be assigned so be prepared!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Dairy Dates

A gentle reminder of meetings

Monday 3 June  7:30 Committee meeting

Wednesday 5 June  7:30 Festival Planning Meeting

Thursday 20th June Alban Supper your menu requests have to be in ASAP

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

St Alban Festival Committee Meeting 15th May

A reminder to those about the meeting of the Festival committee. We haven't had a meeting for a little while and much has changed. So it will be all go and lots to do.
We need to deal with Franks Death and the impact that has on the committee and the liaison with the Abbeuy, Ros Mike and Lindsay have met with the presentor and we will get this feedback.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Farewell Frank Lane

Frank Lane Funeral
Tuesday 23rd April turned out to be a fine day just like the weather for the Easter Monday pilgrimages to St Albans Cathedral which was a favourite event at the Abbey of Frank’s. Around 30 Vergers from the St Albans Branch and others from across the country, turned up at the Abbey for the Requiem Mass at 2pm. The Vergers had been invited to robe and provide an Honour Guard for him as he arrived and departed from the Abbey. We duly robed in the Lady Chapel, the funeral itself had been moved to the Quire, Crossing and Presbytery due to the large numbers expected. Typically for the Church of England, we were told just before the service what was going to happen. We lined up in rank two by two and then led out of the Pilgrim door on the North side of the Cathedral, splitting each way from the door to form the guard as the coffin arrived in the hearse. When Frank had arrived the vergers in ranks of two, led the coffin in. We waited by the North Transcept whilst the Clergy and the coffin were led in. We led off as the first hymn At the name of Jesus was sung with Janet Lindsay a very old and dear friend of Frank, and a St Albans Branch Member leading the way carrying the Guild’s Millenniums Verge which Chris Crooks had brought with him. Chris was also our Verger keeping us in order. We proceeded into the crossing and up into the Presbytery, peeling off before the High Altar and into our places on either side of the Presbytery behind Lynda’s family. Once Frank’s coffin was in place before the High Altar symbols of his life were placed on his coffin, his Virge, a clown hat(actually a jester’s hat) and a clown puppet. The clown hat and puppet symbolised him as a character and person but also the fact that he was a member of Holy Fools amongst many of the organisations he belonged to. Readings were read by members of his family and a very moving tribute was given by his daughter. Points that I remember included
Frank’s life was very full, he did his National Service in the Navy, and met and married Lynda. He worked at various jobs in London and Welwyn Garden City before coming to St Albans Cathedral in 1967. After retiring as Head Verger from the Abbey after around 35 years of service he then worked at Morrisons for 3 days a week right up until his last illness.   He married Lynda in April 1948 and they recently celebrated their 65th Wedding anniversary whilst he was ill. But he still chose the flowers and card for Lynda. Together Lynda and Frank had 3 children of their own and also a foster son. Although their first child, a daughter, died soon after birth and this led them to life long association with the Children’s Society.
The Sermon was preached by Canon Richard Watson who also had comments and tributes to Frank amongst his words. Then Communion was taken by all. There were somewhere in the region of 500 in the congregation including senior clergy and people from all walks of life whose paths had crossed Franks who took communion. Many clergy appeared as ordinary folk just wanting to pay their respects. As Frank's grandson said “once met never forgotten.”  The Revd. Canon Richard Watson remembered his first time he met Frank and recounted a typically amusing tale of Frank removing a heckler from the Abbey at the retirement of a Bishop.  
At the end of the Service the vergers once again formed two ranks to proceed the coffin out the way we had come in and then on outside towards the west end of the Cathedral where we stood each side of the path in the sunshine. The vergers of the Abbey led the hearse on its final journey from the Abbey, the family following behind, which was applauded as it went on his way.
There was a retiring collection in support of the Cathedral and the Children’s Society Donations may also be made C/o Phillips Funeral Services,68 Alma Road, St Albans AL1 3 BL ( 01727 851006)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Frank Lane's Requiem Mass 23rd April

Frank Lane's Requiem Mass will take place on 23rd April 2013 at 2:00pm in St Albans Abbey. All vergers are welcome to attend. Frank knew many vergers as a branch Chairman, Nationally and locally. Having talked with Lynda, Vergers are invited to robe at the Mass. She would like as many vergers a possible as a fitting tribute to a great man.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

R.I.P. Frank Lane

Our former Branch Chairman, Frank Lane passed away in his sleep at Hospital on Wednesday afternoon 10th April. He had been a member since 1968 and was still a very active member of the branch being on committees and helping to organise the St Albans Festival. He will be greatly missed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Holy Week

We enter a busy week in the church. Services every day, the big events of Maunday Thursday and the preparation for the striping of the Altar and other parts of the church.
The preparation for the veneration of the cross on Good Friday. Some church like ours has walks of witness and the organisation involved with this.
There is the work on Easter Saturday with events such as Easter workshops and getting the church ready for Easter Sunday.
Our Easter Sunday has a 5:00am service, which means getting up even earlier this year with the clocks going forwards on the Saturday/Sunday night.
Then there are all the events on Easter day and the much larger expected congregations and the planning involved in this.
Easter Monday often provides no rest as if like us you have a pilgrimage to St Albans Abbey.

I wish you a happy and busy Holy week and a busy Easter, and a week after maybe to recover before low Sunday.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Frank Lane unwell

Frank is poorly at the moment and would appreciate a prayer and perhaps a get well card.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Peter Palmers best wishes

Peter a proud member of the Guild
Dear Vergers,
What can I say? but a huge ‘thank you’ for your certificate making me a Chaplain Emeritus of the Guild. The lovely card and your kind thoughts with your generous cheque as I retire as your chaplain was certainly “icing on the cake”. It has been a great joy and privilege to be with you over the past 14 years. I will certainly keep in touch with the Guild as you enter a new chapter with Fr. Andrew.

With my very best wishes, grateful thanks and prayers
God bless you all

Peter Palmer
Chaplain Emeritus

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Message from Father Andrew

Dear Vergers
I join you as your Chaplain at a most significant time of the Christian year. The outward signs of Lent within our Church buildings are obvious, purple on the Altar and purple vestments for those celebrating Holy Communion: a colour signifying penitence and sorrow for the actions, words and thoughts that divide us one from another, and also from our relationship with God. It is also a royal colour in this country, so can be seen as the colour of Christ the King, whose kingship became evident on Easter Day, the day towards which we are moving and which is central to our Christian faith. There are no flowers for Sunday services, and the contrast between the glory and fragrance of the Churches on Easter Sunday decorated with the glories of nature and the empty Lenten Church buildings, is particularly powerful.
Of course, these are outward signs. Some people have their own personal disciplines during Lent; abstinence from alcohol, chocolate or some other pleasure. Perhaps you just make space for stillness in your busy life, or sacrifice some of your time for the care of those less fortunate than yourself.

Yet whatever these outward disciplines might be, there is also the call for our own internal time of reflection. The global economic crisis has touched all of us. For too long, we have lived off the fat of the land, with frightening over borrowing. Lent is an ideal time to reflect on getting our priorities right. The call of the prophets in the Old Testament was for the people to turn away from the social evils that beset the culture of their day, and to turn instead to the source and inspiration of their lives, God himself. Jesus made similar calls on the Jewish population of his own day.
Such a calling is timely for our own culture. There are many who are suffering badly and will no doubt will continue to suffer for sometime. We have corporate responsibility for the current situation, however much we might like to find someone or some organisation to blame. The world has got out of balance, and we all have a responsibility for that imbalance. We need to try and put it right both for our personal lives and for the lives of those in poverty around the wider community.
In so many parishes today, people seem merely concerned with survival. But the Lord of the Church shows through the glory of Easter that he isn’t interested in mere survival. Easter doesn’t speak to us about survival or existence. It speaks of New Life. Starting from now we need to rediscover that the risen Christ is our mainspring; only then can we hope to share in the permanent life of Easter. As twenty first century followers of the Risen Lord we believe that the world was changed when God raised his Son Jesus from the tomb. The only possible explanation for the transformation which occurred in the lives of the first disciples, turning them into a world changing power, was the reality of the resurrection. Sadly, so often in the West there has often been more fear than faith in our Christianity, more gloom than joy! No wonder that so many turn their back on us and look desperately elsewhere for life, for meaning in life, and for the living joy that only a living faith can give.

Yet, when I read the New Testament I am struck by the fact that those books were written by men who passionately believed in a Living Lord. They didn’t worry or argue how Christ had come alive. What they knew, beyond doubt, is that Christ was alive. Many of them suffered and died but that didn’t deter others. St. Paul, for one, was certain that nothing, not even death itself, could separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Lord grant those who are called to work as Vergers in the House of God, the faith and grace to hear those words again, to have the courage and humility to accept them as the truth. May we live at all times in the joy that comes from accepting and rejoicing in the life that comes from knowing Jesus as Risen Lord.

With every blessing for a Holy Lent and a Happy Easter

About Fr Andrew Ferrar

I spent my formative years at St Peter’s School, York and soon found a spiritual home assisting the Chaplain. It was then on to Emmanuel College, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences. This led to research for a doctorate with the team in Industrial Chemistry at Liverpool University specialising in polymerisation. A career in manufacturing industry followed spanning forty years and working on printing, packaging and industrial textiles.

Board level appointments were held in international chemical groups with emphasis on new business development. This meant moving around so the family have lived in Somerset, London, Lancashire, Angus and latterly Hertfordshire. My wife Ann and I have three children, all now married with families of their own so we are proud grandparents to seven of the next generation.

A lifelong Christian, I have served as Lay Representative to the congregation of St Mary’s Broughty Ferry where I was a member of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Here in Hertfordshire at St Mary’s Church Redbourn, I was part of the first Lay Ministry Team in our Diocese. I trained for the sacramental ministry and was ordained Deacon at St Albans Abbey at Michaelmas 2006 and priested a year later. Since then I have served as a SSM at St Saviour’s Church, St Albans.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Making a Vergers Gown

 The hardest part of this was getting the pattern and getting the pattern right. It is hard enough truing to get a pattern, but of course no one does a pattern, so my wife after me spending lots of money on her going to tailoring classes, managed to create a set of patterns to make up the vergers gown that goes over the cassock.
Each Gown that is made has to be modified to fit the customer. Once this is done the real hard work starts of cutting out the material, making up the parts and getting them to fit. A typical  can take several weeks to complete as Ros also works full time.
The fished article is the same as a bought one, except that it has been fitted several times and fits the wearer like a glove.

St Alban's Vergers Blog gets going

This Blog is set up to allow not only me to write the pages but also to get the word out in other ways. So lets get started.